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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Robbie rejects 'easy' criticism

Robbie Keane has brushed off the almost inevitable suggestion that he is benefiting from a lower standard of football in Scotland.

The Celtic striker grabbed a hat-trick at Rugby Park on Saturday to knock Kilmarnock out of the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup and take his tally to eight in eight games since arriving on loan from Tottenham in January.

The Republic of Ireland forward is beginning to look a class apart, and his treble against Killie followed a brace against Falkirk last week.

However, when asked if people in England would look at his scoring record and claim it was easy north of the border, Keane laughed and replied: "You can't win sometimes.

"I can only concentrate on what I do as a footballer, and scoring goals is what I do best.

"If I continue to do that and help the team then that is the important thing.

"I didn't get much of the ball in the first half and you are always disappointed when that happens.

"But you have to give credit to Kilmarnock for that; they made it difficult for us in the first half, putting two midfielders in front of the back four.

"It was difficult to pass through but once we got the first goal the game was always going to open up."

Ecstatic Raith boss John McGlynn was delighted for everyone involved with the First Division club after they joined Celtic in the semi-finals with a 2-1 win at Dundee.

Former Hearts midfielder Stephen Simmons volleyed home from the edge of the area after only three minutes for Rovers.

Defender Laurie Ellis doubled the lead seven minutes later and, although Dundee pulled a goal back through Craig Forsyth, Raith held on to reach their first Scottish Cup semi-final in 47 years.

McGlynn said: "It hasn't sunk in yet how much this means to the football club. From the players' point of view they have the chance to play in the semi-final of the national cup.

"It is great from my point of view, and I'm sure the directors are pinching themselves right now because that result will help the debt situation a hell of a lot."

Ross County could yet make it two First Division sides in the last four after earning a replay at Victoria Park with a 2-2 draw at Hibernian.

They twice came from a goal down at Easter Road, with Michael Gardyne scoring their second and he is confident they can now reach a semi-final at Hampden Park.

He said: "Right from the start the performance was brilliant. Hibs saw pretty much the best of us on Saturday and I'm not sure if they will fancy coming all the way up to Dingwall.

"We'll be well up for it, and they will need to be up for it.

"It would be great if we could match what we did on Saturday. If we do we've got every chance to sneak through."

The result was another kick in the teeth for Hibs, who have not won the competition since 1902.

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